10 Telephone Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Know

Updated on September 16, 2020

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The telephone is a fantastic invention that has simplified our lives and made connecting with other people more accessible. One may think that talking on the phone is as straight-forward as talking in real life, but in fact, many factors differentiate the two.

While on a call with someone, you can’t see their facial expressions and body language, and you have to rely entirely on vocal cues to steer the conversation. This is the reason why even the most confident people have a hard time making a conversation over the phone, whether personal or professional.

Whether you work from home or the office, you have to pick up the phone multiple times a day and talk to a myriad of people… These phone calls may go sideways VERY quickly if you don’t know the basic telephone etiquette rules, so that’s what I want to talk about today!

 

10 Telephone Etiquette Rules Everyone Should Know

 

1) Talk in a cheerful tone

 

It can be entirely too easy to quickly talk on the phone without formalities and get back to work, but it makes a wrong impression on the person you are talking to. When answering the phone, always greet the person with a smile and a cheerful wish. You may not understand the importance of this, but it immediately creates a positive image in the other person’s mind, and they are more likely to be open about their problems. Something as simple as a ‘Good Morning’, or ‘How are you?’ can make a huge difference!

 

2) Make sure to introduce yourself properly

 

When you call someone in a professional capacity, chances are they are using an office phone that doesn’t display your name. Always start a phone conversation by introducing yourself along with your official title, and make sure you are clear and concise with the introduction. Telephone etiquette rules dictate that you wait for the caller to identify themselves before starting a conversation, so there’s no confusion on either side. This also allows you to identify a wrong number calling you, and you can immediately inform them to save yourself the hassle.

 

3) Never let the phone ring for too long

 

If you are deeply submerged in an important task when the phone starts ringing, it is the natural human response to wait it out, hoping it stops. However, it is essential that you are quick in answering the phone because the caller might be in a hurry. Most people tend to hang up after a few seconds if their call is unanswered, so try to answer the phone before the fourth ring. It is a basic telephone etiquette rule that you shouldn’t keep the caller waiting, so set aside what you’re doing for a few moments and just pick up the phone. It may end up being a call you don’t want to miss!

 

4) Keep the proper phone distance from the mouth

 

It is annoying when you call someone, and they are either screaming in your ear or barely talking loud enough to be heard. This problem arises when you keep the mouthpiece at an inappropriate distance from the mouth, which results in bad voice quality.

As a rule of thumb, try to keep the microphone one and a half inches away from your mouth. It is also part of good telephone etiquette to talk in an appropriate conversational volume that is loud and audible to the caller.

 

5) Speak in a straight-forward yet concise way

 

When you are on the phone with someone, the only way you two communicate is via vocal signals without any visual feedback. This requires that you have strong communication skills, and you can clearly express yourself using your voice and tone only. One way you can make the conversation easier for both parties is by making sure you are speaking clearly. This allows the caller to understand what you’re saying and then they can answer you accordingly.

Also, make sure to keep the phone conversations brief and to-the-point while avoiding tangents and side talk. This will streamline the experience, and you will make the most out of the phone call!

 

6) Be considerate about putting the caller on hold

 

There is nothing more maddening than when you call someone, and they put you on hold without asking your permission first. Telephone etiquette rules encourage us to always be considerate about placing someone on hold and you should always ask them politely before doing so. The chances are that they will gladly agree, and they will wait for you to get back to them without a problem.

This is a fundamental telephone etiquette, and it saves the other person from the hassle of waiting for an unspecified time while they may be busy. It would help if you also tried to be quick and get back to the call as soon as you can.

 

7) Don’t use the speakerphone

 

It is very convenient to put a call on speaker as you continue with your tasks, as this allows you to use both hands instead of getting tied up with the phone. However, what you don’t realize is that using a speakerphone significantly increases background noise for the caller as the speaker picks up every sound around you!

 

8) Actively listen, and take notes to keep track of things

 

When you are on the phone, it is very easy to stop paying attention and lose the track of your conversation. Active listening can prevent this problem, so let’s talk about what that is.

Active listening means that you closely listen to everything the person has to say, and respond to everything according to their comments. You can also take notes while you talk, and this will make it easier to remember any important details the person gives you while talking. It is a good idea to ask questions to clarify something you don’t understand, as this gives the impression that you were paying attention.

 

9) Don’t eat while talking on the phone

 

One of the more obvious telephone etiquette rules says that you should skip eating or snacking while you’re on the phone call. While generally eating your food or drinking may seem like no big deal while you are on the phone, these sounds are very amplified, and it makes it a very unpleasant experience for the caller.

Not only does this seem rude, but talking while eating makes your words hard to comprehend for the person. Try to stop what you are eating for a few minutes when you are on call. Also, remember to move the mouthpiece away from you if you must drink something!

 

10) End the conversation appropriately and say goodbye

 

It is understandable that you may want to end a conversation hastily after solving the issue on hand to go back to work, but it creates an awful impression. After you have helped the caller through the problem, it is crucial to take a few seconds to correctly say goodbye as it is a part of good telephone etiquette too. It lets the other person know that you are happy to help, and they will greatly appreciate the effort. When hanging up the phone, saying something simple like ‘Have a good day’ can make all the difference, so make it a habit to do this no matter how busy you are!

Calling someone on the phone and getting your point across may be a daunting task for even the most experienced speakers. However, remembering these simple telephone etiquette rules will help you communicate and understand the other person without any hassle or confusion. Remember that it is essential that you greet the caller, introduce yourself, and talk in a clear tone that is easy on the ears. These small steps make a huge difference, and you will soon notice that the quality of your phone conversations has started to improve!

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